Which test should I take?


(this may get a little long)

Im a sophomore (2015-2016 or this school year) in high school (will be a junior for the 2016-2017 school year) currently debating wether I should take the SAT or the ACT. After doing my research I had decided to take a blind mock of both tests at home on two different days. The only other experience I've had with standardized testing in this manner would be 2 AP test and 2 PSAT mocks, so I really didn't know anything about either test. I am a very hardworking student with a 4.0 in multiple AP/honors classes above my grade level yet I can't seem to score "well" on either exam.

Here's the breakdown of my first practice tests, I used official ACT test #1 and the college board's sat practice test. When I took these tests I made a rule that after I answered the last question I wouldn't double check or go back and change any answers. This allowed me to see how fast I completed each section and how impulsive I was in my answer choices.


Reading - finished with 31 mins left RAW - 32/52 SCALED - 29

Writing - finished with 11 mins left RAW - 30/44 SCALED - 29

580 composite on Reading

MATH: composite: 670

no calc - finished with 6 min left RAW - 18/20

calc - finished with 17 mins left RAW - 28/38

As you can see the time crunch isn't a problem at all for me on the SAT, but the reading and writing sections continue to "kill me" in terms of a score, and math is my song suit when careless mistakes are eliminated.

Score: 1250


Section 1 (English) 29

finished with 15 mins left

UM - 36/40 RH - 29/35 65/75 correct

Math 31 finished with 13 mins left EA - 25/27 AG - 16/29 GT - 11/14 52/60

Reading 26 finished with 9 min left SS - 20/20 (Yay!) AL - 9/20 (this section really shot my ACT score down from a 30+ to a 28)

Science 27 finished with 8 min left 32/40 (note i didn't know anything about the science section before taking it so I had no idea how the questions worked)

Score: 28

As you can see the ACT time crunch wasn't a problem for me at all either, but my scores in the Reading and science sections really need to improve

I feel that the SAT seems like a better test to me as it takes less time and I feel that I have a better chance at getting a high score on the math sections. I like the format of it much better than the ACT as well, but my score on the ACT was a little higher than the SAT.

What im wondering is if i wanted to get into the 1450+ range on the SAT or the 34+ range on the ACT (I am willing to put in the work) am I making the right decision in taking the SAT or will I get the same result taking either test.


Based on your scores and background, I would advise you to take the ACT rather than the SAT. Even with some previous knowledge of the SAT's format (two mock PSATs), you performed slightly better on the ACT. You weren't familiar with the ACT in any way when you took the practice test, meaning you're more likely to improve rapidly as you prepare. You have a better chance of reaching your goal score in a shorter period of time.

However, if you feel the SAT's format suits you that much better, taking it instead of the ACT isn't out of the question. Your practice test scores aren't far enough apart to make this decision completely cut and dry.

I'd suggest taking one more practice test for each exam, this time allowing yourself to use the entire time allotted for each section to double check your answers. Make your final decision after you've experimented with taking each test under the exact same conditions as the real thing. There might be more of a clear gap between the two scores depending on how many of your incorrect answers came from careless mistakes on each test.